Friday, June 24, 2011

Mozart, the Animal Lover

Mozart loved nature and animals. He kept several pets, and I thought it would be fun to write about them.
. . .

A Canary
Picture from Wikipedia

We read in a letter from 14-year-old Wolfgang to his sister Nannerl on May 19, 1770 about a little canary that the Mozarts kept. He wrote:
Write me, how is Mr. Canary? Does he still sing? Does he still pipe? Do you know why I am thinking of the canary? Because there is one in our anteroom that makes the same little sounds as ours.
. . .

A Dog
     Unfortunately, I can't seem to find much information on the dog that the Mozart family kept. Some sources say that it was a fox terrier.
     Mozart family letters refer to a "Miss Bimbes", a "Bimperl", and a "Pimperl". After much research, it sounds to me like they are all the same dog, but sometimes it's hard to tell. If I can find out any more, be assured that I will post it.
     
In a letter dated August 21, 1773 (at age 17), Mozart wrote to his sister:
How is Miss Bimbes? Please present all manner of compliments to her.
In an October 1777 letter from Leopold to 21-year-old Wolfgang (who was in France with his mother at the time), we read:
As the weather is fine, [Nannerl and I] take an early walk every day with our faithful Bimperl, who is in splendid trim and only becomes very sad and obviously most anxious when we are both out of the house, for then she thinks that because she has lost you two, she is now going to lose us as well. So when we went to the ball and she saw us masked, she refused to leave Mitzerl, and, when we got home, she was so overjoyed that I thought she would choke. Moreover, when we were out, she would not stay on her bed in the room, but remained lying on the ground outside the porter's door. She would not sleep, but kept on moaning, wondering, I suppose, whether we should ever return.
Then, while Mozart was writing and rehearsing Idomoneo, K. 366, in 1780, he wrote to his father:
Give Pimperl a pinch of Spanish snuff, a good wine-biscuit, and three busses (kisses).
. . .

A Starling
Picture from Wikipedia

On May 27, 1784, Mozart noted in his expense book that he had bought a pet starling. In the same book he also wrote down a tune that the bird whistled for him, and noted, "That was beautiful!"
Besides the two G sharps, the notes are identical to the theme of the third movement to Mozart's 17th Piano Concerto, K. 453, which had been written earlier that year. It is unknown whether he taught this to the bird, or if the bird whistled it for him (having been taught the tune by someone else), and that is what made him buy it.
The bird died on June 4, 1787. Mozart wrote a sad little poem on the occasion and buried the bird in his back yard.


. . .

A Horse
Mozart wrote to his wife, who was at the spa in Baden due to illness, in 1791:
Now as to my mode of life: As soon as you were gone I played two games of billiards with Herr von Mozart who wrote the opera for Schickaneder's theatre (The Magic Flute); then I sold my nag for fourteen ducats; then I had Joseph call my primus (valet) and bring a black coffee, to which I smoked a glorious pipe of tobacco...
Since his health was failing, Mozart's doctor advised him to buy a horse and ride every day. However, Mozart didn't care for the exercise and sold his horse.

5 comments:

  1. Most amusing! I would much like to have met this silly fellow!

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  2. That's so cool! And sweet! Mozart is really caring! =]

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  3. If Mozart still lived, I would love to meet him too - he sounds so sweet and caring... and hilarious!

    I bet he would've been a brilliant friend...

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  4. Aww yes he seemed quite funny and interesting! The Bird story is touching- I see starlings a lot in my town centre. One last week was standing by a taxi and chirping at it lol.It had a fluffy head and was very cute.

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  5. Very nicely written article. I hope you don't mind my sharing on my Mozart group on FB, Mostly Mozart Mysterium. https://www.facebook.com/groups/1623776044574428/

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